Spotlight on Putnam County Schools Food Services Program, Part 2
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More than 30 million children across the United States file through school cafeteria lines every day. This week on WCTE’s Get Ready To Learn radio show, host Cindy Putman is joined by Putnam County School System Program Supervisor for Food Services Kathlyn Walter to learn even more about what PCSS is doing to feed its students lunch. This is part two of a two part series.
Says Kathlyn, "We believe strongly in our mission to "Feed the Children" a student friendly, nutritious meal in a pleasant, safe, sanitary environment."
Before assuming her role as the supervisor for food services for the Putnam County School System, Kathlyn started out in the hotel services industry and traveled to many exciting destinations. She was always interested in the local cuisine of different countries and regions of the world.
What’s more, she brings that love for different food into her job at PCSS where she thinks creatively when she and her staff are planning the menus for the over 7,000 students that the school system feeds lunch to each day.
Walter's staff consists of 140 cafeteria employees, all of which are females. Walter's interest in foods from different parts of the world allows her and the staff to help develop the students' various taste palates. She strives to serve a variety of food choices, and her number one goal is to help children learn sound nutritional habits when they are young. These healthy habits help shape their eating patterns for their future.
Many foods are prepared fresh but others are what Walter refers to as "Heat and Serve." The cafeteria staff members take into account cooking methods that maxmimize the foods' nutritional values, including steaming vegetables to make the most of their nutrients.
The staff at each school also takes great pride in their serving line, with options that are carefully chosen to meet various nutritional guidelines. Each school puts a great deal of heart into their daily activities. For example, they plan ahead and decorate for holidays, and this past week for Valentine's Day, the kids were served heart shaped chicken nuggets and special Valentine's cookies. Walter's staff seeks to go above and beyond to make sure students have pleasant meal experiences.
The staff of the PCSS food services department aren't just hard at work during the school year. They also participate in a summer feeding program through which any child aged 18 and younger may eat for free at the various summer feeding sights across Putnam County. Check out the PCSS Facebook page for a listing of those sites closer to summer break. The program begins on the first day after the last day of the school year.
For more information about how to use the kitchen as a place to teach your kids about all sorts of great learning experiences, visit http://www.pbs.org/parents/kitchenexplorers/.
One final note from Walters is that kids love the southern twist on Chocolate gravy served for breakfast- their overall favorite meal. Who wouldn't love something so delicious?
For parent resources such as tips for picky eaters, how to add more fruits and veggies to your child's diet, and recipes, visit PBS Parents.
To contact Kathlyn Walter, call 528-1847 ext 1214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM.